An insight into the Windows 95 startup sound


Doo, dudududingggggg.... ding.... ding... ding...

In an interview with Joel Selvin at the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Eno explains.

Q: How did you come to compose "The Microsoft Sound"?

A: The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem -- solve it."

The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long."

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

The Windows 95 CD contained extra multimedia toss-ins. The ones I remember are a cartoon or two by Bill Plympton, a Weezer music video, and music video of Edie Brickell singing Good Times.

For some reason, everybody wanted to know the artist from the Good Times video. Nobody was interested in the artists who did any of the other stuff. (Okay, probably nobody asked about Weezer because, well, that's the group right there in the filename.)

Hint: Right-click and select Properties. That will tell you the artist.

Oh, and the question nobody asked but I'm going to answer it anyway: The composer of the Windows 95 Easter Egg theme is Brian Orr. Here's his story of how it came to be.

Comments (14)
  1. James Curran says:

    I’m convinced that it was that Good Times video that start the legendary "Good TImes" virus hoax.

    My speculation: During the Win95 beta, some beta tester get a build on a CD, sees the video, and emails it to some friend with an AOL account, not bothering to notice that it’s 30MB long. (CDROMs were still new then, and most people still hadn’t grasped the concept that a file COULD be 30MB long).

    Anyway, friend with AOL account fires of the ole’ 28.8kbps modem and checks his email — and it says "downloading email "Good times" for hours. AOLer figures it’s a virus, cancels the download, and warns his friends.

  2. Blake says:

    Some of the beta’s had different media bits on them. I recall the trailer for Interview with a Vampire as well.

  3. Jason says:

    Did you notice that that music could also be the Intel jingle? :)

  4. quanta says:

    I hated The Microsoft Sound.wav. But it sort of fit with Microsoft media efforts at the time; even the Word clipart was ugly.

    It was a lot better in Windows 98. Although my favourite soundclip was always the little piece that started up with the "Welcome to Windows 98" dialog. (If anyone knows where it comes from, let me know!)

    Everyone wanted to know who sang "Good Times" because it was just such a nice, pleasant song! I loved it. I was a bit dissappointed that W98 only had media clips pushing forgettable products like Trespasser and EasyBall.

  5. Charles Oppermann says:

    Raymond, I remember a Building 5 hallway BS session in mid-1995 where a few folks were talking about the "Microsoft Sound".

    I remember you saying; "It sounds like glass breaking in reverse." or something similar.

  6. vin says:

    are u the same guys who compose the songs for the rest ofthe windows

  7. Will says:

    [obligatory late response apology]

    Kinda odd that the easter egg is no longer available in later versions of Windows (according to the link to Brian Orr’s website, it only existed in Windows ’95, not ’98 or above). Seems to me like something that’s not very obtrusive and gives the whole team a chance to give a bow, essentially.

    Any reason why this isn’t something that’s in Windows 2000/XP or can’t be added for Longhorn?

  8. Alan says:

    Does anyone know where I can download the .wav file for the "Doo, dudududingggggg…. ding…. ding… ding…" startup sound? It’s definitely best startup sound, and I’d like to have it replace the one that is on XP, which I use now.

  9. Jean- Claude says:

    http://www5.driverguide.com/files67b/uploads13/18729/

    It’s in quickime format though. I’m using a macintosh so i only know how i can convert it into a macintosh sound file.

  10. Alan L. says:

    The link above gives you a "403" Forbidden message. Anywhere Else?

  11. Raymond Chen says:

    Commenting on this article has been closed. And yes, that link above doesn’t work.

  12. …but when I alluded to it at work, people thought I was crazy (all the more worrisome given exactly where…

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